Before I Played With Clay For A Living
Once upon a time I worked in an office and not with clay, I worked in several office jobs actually. This particular one though saw me working on the telephones within a small team. I mainly took note of customers complaints about some (very boring) air conditioning units or spoke to engineers about their frustrations with their employer and told them why they would have to wait a week for a part we were meant to hold stock of.
It sucked. It REALLY sucked.
At the time Col was a 4 year old blonde bundle of energy. He was always my little shadow and having to drop him off with his childminder (even though she was great with him) to go to a job I hated was utterly soul destroying.
Then, I discovered I was pregnant.
Big Fat Positive
After I had gotten over the initial shock of that little line appearing, I had to think of the practicalities. At the time I was living 150 miles away from my parents and siblings and in fact all of my relatives. Childcare was expensive for 1 child, for 2 it was going to pretty much be out of our budget. Of course we would make it work. People generally do, don’t they?
I pondered the question of how. The days turned to weeks turned to months and before I knew it I was the proud owner of a great big bump and on Maternity leave. The panic was starting to set in.
One Day I Woke Up
I was 7 months pregnant, had quite severe SPD which was preventing me from walking any further than to our front door without crutches and I had an idea! Well, it wasn’t so much as an idea than a feeling. I had played with Fimo as a child with my Aunt who had taught me how to use it (and loved it) but since becoming an adult I hadn’t really thought about it at all. On this day though it was all I thought about. Off to the local craft shop I went and procured a few assorted colours of Fimo. I returned home excited and sore. This was what I made that afternoon.
I cringe when I look back at it now but at the time I was pretty pleased with how it had turned out! I popped it on Ebay with an item description explaining how I was selling a service rather than a premade item and clicked POST!
My First Sale
12 hours later I had a direct message from a lady called Kathy who lived in New York and who was desperately searching for a bride and groom in their wedding attire with faces made up to look like members of the band KISS. I accepted her challenge and that was that. My first sale!
Once the cake topper had been made I sent Kathy a photo and she quickly replied to let me know she was very pleased and wanted to order clay figures of her pets. Her 12 cats and dogs. They were to be assembled around the lower tiers of her step style wedding cake. I obliged of course and the topper was sent.
I have never forgotten that first sale and how grateful I still am that she entrusted me with such an important part of her special day.
11 Years Forward
I know how lucky I am. I get to be at home with my children. I’m am able to attend all of their special assemblies and sports days and I owe all of that to a little idea planted when I was a child which grew into something I love. I don’t like to call it work or a job because with those words comes the implication of a lack of enjoyment. Of course at times it has been difficult. Juggling a business with a demanding family is definitely a skill. Sometimes life can get in the way of time I ought to be crafting orders and usually on those occasions I am working very long hours and surviving on very little sleep. It’s worth it. Every single time.
My Favourite Part
I love creating. The design process and speaking to excited brides and grooms to be about what they would like to have included is lovely. Sitting at my desk with clay around me bringing our ideas to life has never lost its appeal. I can lose myself in those hours and let my hands take over. But when all of that is finished with and a client emails or messages to tell me how pleased they are with their cake topper and how everybody at their wedding has commented on how wonderful it is. That is an amazing feeling. That is probably why I could never give it up.
As well as wedding cake toppers I create figures for all occasions. Click HERE to win a bespoke birthday cake topper!